Q1.What’s the project all about?
A1. The project is seeking to improve the biodiversity of the local nature reserve by reinstating a mosaic of habitats that promote and support an abundance of wildlife. The current pathways are often boggy and muddy and are a barrier to those who are less ambulant. The project will improve access for visitors by reinstating existing pathways and surfacing existing earthen routeways.
Q2. When will the project start?
A2. The project will start in the spring of 2021.
Q3.How long will the project take?
A3. The project is estimated to take between twelve and eighteen months.
Q4. Have local people had a say in the scope of the project?
A4. Replying to our Survey Monkey questionnaire local people said how they used the site, what they enjoyed most, and what they saw as the issues preventing greater enjoyment. Overall, there was a request to not overdevelop the site as its semi-wildness was an attractive feature. The muddy paths were seen as a problem and there was a plea for more wildlife.
Q5. Who is the main contractor completing the works?
A5. The main contractor is Lancashire Wildlife Trust; Their mission is to protect wildlife and connect people with nature. An appropriate organisation to complete the works.
Q6.What are the main phases of the project?
A6. An outline plan of the project phases will be available shortly. It will remain subject to change without notice as the project develops, and any efficiencies are identified.
Q7. How will site users be made aware of the detailed works?
A7. The entrance noticeboards (at Childwall Abbey Road and Childwall Lane) and website www.fcwf.org.uk will provide details of the overall sequence of the works and notify visitors of when each phase will commence.
Q8. What arrangements will be made to ensure the minimum inconvenience to site users?
A8. Works will be signposted with notice provided of when they will take place. There are no plans to close the site to visitors at any time during the project. The site is sufficiently large so that, as one aspect of the project is being delivered other features will remain available. There are plenty of paths and alternative routes to ensure visitors can reach their destination without too much inconvenience.
Q9. How can site users contact those delivering the project if there any issues?
A9. Site users should contact firstname.lastname@example.org via email or post on our Facebook page ‘Friends of Childwall Woods and Fields’ if there is an urgent issue relating to the project works.
Q10. Will the works present a danger to site users?
A10. As with all construction works the Health and Safety of the contractors, volunteers and site users is paramount. The contractor will comply with all legislation completing risk assessments and ensuring risk mitigation measures are in place throughout the project.
Q11. How can I volunteer to help the project?
A11. There are a significant number of volunteer events related to the project and it is hoped that the volunteers will continue to look after the site when the works have been completed. The FCWF Website will provide more details of the volunteer schedule. Those interested in getting involved should contact: email@example.com
Q12. Why is it necessary to clear the rhododendrons?
A12. One of the most widespread species of Rhododendrons on our site is recognised as an invasive non-native species. It has spread at the expense of other species and needs to be significantly condensed whilst preserving the rare species. Our trustees are liaising with experts at several institutions to identify those that should be kept and to understand how best to look after them for years to come.
Q13. Will all the brambles be cleared?
A13. The middle and lower fields were once a distinct habitat promoting a variety of wildlife significantly different to that elsewhere on site. These habitats need to be reinstated, however, to do that some of the brambles will need to be cleared. It is appreciated that local people enjoy picking the blackberries every summer and the natural value of the brambles to wildlife is well understood. The project will ensure that plenty of blackberries and brambles will remain on site.
Q14. Which paths are being re-laid?
A14. The project plan on our website details which paths are being resurfaced or re-laid. Amongst these improvements, the intention is to create an end-to-end route through the nature reserve from the gatehouse at Childwall Abbey Road to the Childwall Lane vehicle access gate.
Q15. Will toilets be constructed on-site?
A15. The project will not be constructing toilets on site. This may be considered as part of a future separate initiative.
Q16. Will there be additional car parking created?
A16. The project will not be creating additional car parking. Visitors are encouraged to walk to the site if at all possible or use public transport as the site is well served by various bus routes.
Q17. What is being done to reduce the anti-social behaviour on-site?
A17. In addition to regular litter picks, conservation activities, and liaison with schools, universities, and local businesses, the project will install security fencing along Childwall Abbey Road. This is a section of the site boundary that is known for its anti-social behavioural issues.
This expenditure would be a significant part of the budget and remains subject to there being sufficient money available and the prioritisation of project deliverables. The security fencing would extend the existing fencing from the electrical substation to the gates at Lime Pictures.
Q18. What is being done to prevent the litter from spoiling visitor’s experience?
A18. Ideally those who seek to desecrate our beautiful site with their attention-seeking deposits of detritus would have an epiphany and become anti-litter campaigners overnight. In all seriousness this issue is of significant concern, The trustees are incredibly grateful to those who of their own accord, regularly pick litter from the site. Initiatives are underway to seek to engage young people to educate them and ensure they understand the value of waste and its impacts.
Q19. Will the tree work affect the nesting birds?
A19. Beechwoods are known for the density of their canopy. Inadequate sunlight reaching the understory prevents wildflowers from flourishing. The project will ensure that works to open up the canopy, thin the denser woodland, etc. will be completed outside of the main nesting season.
Q20. Will the site be able to cope with the influx of new visitors?
A20. It is recognised that there has been a significant increase in the number of visitors to the site during the Covid pandemic and lockdown. It is expected that the numbers will reduce when restrictions are lifted. At present, the muddy nature of the pathways causes people to damage the grasslands with increased footfall. New paths, interpretation signage, and directional sign (fingerposts) will help promote positive behaviour.
Q21. Which parts of the site will remain semi-wild?
A21. The project does not involve any works to the lower field. The middle and upper fields will have works completed to return them to a grassland habitat. The upper field will additionally have a series of scrapes created to promote water retention. Aquatic plants etc. will further enhance this wetland environment. The majority of the woodland will remain untouched.
Q22. Will the new wetland environments pose a danger to children?
A22. It remains to be seen as to the extent to which water will be retained all year round. All standing water whether the existing pools or the newly created wetland environment can present a danger to small children who should continue to be supervised at all times. Signage and other features will assist.
Q23. Will there be a proliferation of benches turning the nature reserve into a park?
A23. It is recognised that this site differs from other open spaces and recreational facilities throughout the city. In keeping with its nature reserve status and the intention to promote access, the project intends to create seated resting places using timber from trees already felled on site. No trees will be felled for this specific purpose.
Q24. Will the project be affected or delayed because of the pandemic?
A24. It is anticipated that the pandemic will have little impact on the project timeline. Our volunteering activity will only take place if our risk assessments show that we can do so safely and that the risk of transmission of the virus is as low as possible.
John McCombs – Chair, Friends of Childwall Woods and Fields 6/3/21